Why Support Programs Are Essential For Small Business Success

Meg Ragland, founder and CEO of Plum Print discusses moving her business from NYC to Asheville, NC. Not only did Meg choose to take advantage of several entrepreneur support programs in the region, but she has also become an active leader in the ecosystem, as a board member, mentor, and ecosystem advocate.

When they first told me the rent at the small business incubator, I thought, "Oh, that's not so much less than New York," but they were telling me the yearly rent and I thought it was the monthly rent.

Plum Print takes the overwhelming piles of artwork that children create and we photograph all that artwork and design it into custom coffee table books. After about a year in New York, we outgrew our space and we were looking for a place to move Plum Print. We came and visited Asheville and were met by all the great folks at the small business incubator at AB-Tech, and that helped precipitate our move. From bringing a newly launched company from New York to Asheville, I think when we first arrived in Asheville, Plum Print, we were just surprised at the number of resources that were available. Soon after joining the small business incubator was when the Elevate program began through the chamber, and we were immediately excited about those offerings. Throughout our process. throughout the years here in Asheville, we have kind of jumped from small business incubator into the Elevate program, and we were in Elevate for quite a while until they decided we probably should graduate and maybe we could get into mentoring. As we moved out of the small business incubator, we immediately moved into the Hatch program where we are now in the entrepreneurship community.

It's just a tight community and I feel very comfortable calling dozens and dozens of fellow entrepreneurs to ask them a question and I love it when I get a message from someone asking to grab a cup of coffee because they're talking. They're dealing with a hiring issue or to talk about salaries and I feel like it's very open. There are not secrets — it really is a very open and warm place for entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs to interconnect.

I'm Meg Ragland, founder of Plum Print based here in Asheville, North Carolina. You can check out Plum Print at PlumPrint.com.

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